7 Healthy Herbs and Spices

1. GINGER

Ginger is indeed the root to healing many a discomfort with its rich therapeutic and remedial properties. For hundreds of years, ginger has been used in an assortment of medicinal regimes from traditional ridding of internal bodily wind to comforting abdominal distress and relieving of the common cold. With its alluring pungent and slight citrusy flavour, the aroma of the ginger root can sooth travel sickness and nausea. Ginger is good in both hearty, savoury dishes such as curries and marinated meats, as well as sweet delights like gingerbread cookies and spiced puddings which rely on its strong scent; in fact a faint lace of ginger powder to baked goods is a must in most holiday and traditional favourites.

 

2. CINNAMON

You may adore the warm, distinctive flavour that Cinnamon adds to sweet and savoury dishes giving them vibrancy and life. Cinnamon is extremely high in antioxidants and its oil has strong anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. It is also known to be able to lower cholesterol and reducing sugar level. Warm cinnamon tea eases the common cold while aiding indigestion. Cinnamon enriches most meat and rice dishes. It is an essential spice in many savoury Asian dishes such as stewed meats, curries and rice (such as briyani). Ground cinnamon is used in a large variety of sweet pastries and desserts as it pairs well with chocolate and a variety of fruit.

 

3. TURMERIC

Turmeric is a deeply-hued spice found in yellow curry powder that provides much more than colour and flavour. It is a concentrated source of antioxidants that can help boost one's immune system and protect against illness and disease. Apart from this, turmeric has a role in lowering LDL cholesterol level and has shown to improve blood flow as well as strengthen blood vessels. Studies point to turmeric's ability to neutralise free radicals. This strong scented spice is used in most Indian curries and for colouring and flavouring dishes. Turmeric's distinct flavour and personality enhances the vibrancy of any bland dish.

 

4. ROSEMARY

The essence of Mediterranean cooking is robustly amplified by this distinctive, aromatic herb with a hint of meaty savor. This well-known herb has been used throughout the centuries for the ailing of muscle aches and spasm. Rosemary oil is said to be an effective remedy to ease gastrointestinal disorder and relieve muscle cramps in the digestive track. Rosemary makes a flavoursome marinade for meats and oily fish together with olive oil and garlic. Traditionally used with lamb, it also goes well with most red meats. Its fresh, camphor-like aroma is a good counter-balance to rich or fatty foods and its distinctive pine-woody aroma enhances meat and seafood.

 

5. OREGANO

Of all herbs, oregano is among those with the highest antioxidant levels. Apart from this important attribute, this mellow herb is also a great anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. Its capacity in slowing down the signs of aging is highly prized. Oregano is commonly used in many popular Italian, Greek and Spanish dishes. It imparts an aromatic, pungent, yet rustic flavour which makes it ideal in marinades and oil infusions. Oregano enhances the flavour of tomatoes and pairs well with meat, poultry, seafood and vegetables making it one of the most versatile herbs to have on hand. Its musky yet smoky aroma uplifts any bland dish.

 

6. PAPRIKA

A sweet, spicy and fiery red coloured spice, the paprika is indeed an indigenous spice which enhances the palest and simplest dish. It is said that this gorgeous spice is extremely high in vitamin C, with almost nine times the vitamin C found in a tomato. It is also rich in carotenoids and flavonoids that are beneficial to health. Commonly used in braising, paprika contributes a spicy sweetness as well as vivid colour to pot stews, goulashes and stroganoffs. A dash of paprika in sauces, dressings and soups brings out vivacity and creates contrast in a garnish.

 

7. THYME

Thyme contains an essential oil that is rich in thymol, a powerful antiseptic, and antibacterial, making it a common component in most cough drops. This useful herb which is a member of the mint family is rich in antioxidants and possesses terpenoids which are recognised for their cancer preventive properties. Thyme's aromatic flavour escalates the essence of warmth and pungency in an array of dishes with meat and seafood. Thyme is widely used in most western-style stews and roasts making this herb unmistakably common in most kitchens.

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